AN American archbishop and media personality by the name of Fulton J Sheen once said that "the proud man counts his newspaper clippings, the humble man his blessings."
While I admit to getting a kick out of tipping a nice-priced winner, I certainly won't be making a clipping of the Betting Ring column from a fortnight ago when I suggested Silviniaco Conti needed some more top-race experience before we see him hit the big time.
As a backer of Long Run that day, I was left both red-faced and out of pocket as Silviniaco Conti put in a great round of jumping to land the Betfair Chase under a bold ride from Ruby Walsh. Within minutes of him crossing the line, the bookmakers were excitedly issuing new prices for the Gold Cup, but those markets had to be revised again slightly last week after Bobs Worth jumped like a stag to take Newbury's Hennessy Gold Cup (tipped here at 4/1).
So, which of the pair is the best bet for Cheltenham? At 5/1, I'm going to give Bobs Worth tentative thumbs up although, with Silviniaco Conti (7/1) still somewhat unexposed and likely to be kept under wraps until March, the 2013 renewal is wide open. Further-more, Long Run, Sir Des Champs and Flemenstar can't be ruled out either.
In the Champion Chase market, Sprinter Sacre is as short as even-money and it's possible that he may touch odds-on should he put Sanctuaire in his place in today's Tingle Creek at Sandown (3.05).
At 1/2, the odds suggest this will be a straightforward penalty kick for Sprinter Sacre this afternoon, but with just three pounds separating the pair, this could be closer than the market suggests and it's a race best enjoyed without having a bet.
Earlier on the same card, Captain Conan looks the one to beat in the Grade One Markel Insurance Henry VIII Novices' Chase (1.55), but with Overturn not declared, his price too will be similarly restrictive.
For something worth backing, attention is turned to Aintree's card where Nigel Twiston-Davies' Master Of The Sea makes appeal at 100/30 in the Betfred Bonus King Bingo Novices' Handicap Hurdle (1.35).
He had good form in bumpers last year, but he didn't really shine in novice hurdles over the summer. However, we saw a totally different animal on his return to racing at Hereford following a five-month break. It was his first time racing in a handicap, but he was really game and responded quickly when challenged.
His jumping was spot-on and while he'll get a penalty for that win, the handicapper hasn't had a chance to reassess his mark and I reckon he could be a couple of pounds to the good today. Donald McCain's horses are in good form, so Beeves might be the biggest threat to the bet.
THE Dessie Hughes-trained In Compliance finished a respectable fifth in this year's Aintree Grand National and there could be some value in backing the old-timer at 12/1 as he tackles those fences again today in the Becher Chase (2.10).
It was disappointing to see him pulled up in the Troytown at Navan recently, but the trip was too short. Hughes has good form in the race, winning twice in recent years with Black Apalachi and Vic Venturi.
1.35 Aintree: Master Of The Sea
2.10 Aintree: In Compliance (e/w)
2.15 Lingfield: Hepworth